852.75 National Telephone Co./268
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Spain (Weddell)
Sir: Reference is had to the Department’s telegram no. 383 of May 29, 2 p.m. via the Embassy at Paris, regarding the attitude of the Spanish Government in refusing permission to Colonel Sosthenes Behn, President of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation, to enter Spain for the purpose of representing American interests in the National Telephone Company of Spain (Compañía Telefónica Nacional de España).
As stated in the Department’s telegram under reference, the present attitude of the Spanish Government indicates at the least a lack of frankness. Such an attitude is bound to give rise to the suspicion that some action prejudicial to the rights of the National Telephone Company of Spain, and consequently to the American interests represented therein, may be under consideration. Under the circumstances it would seem highly desirable that the attitude of the Spanish Government toward the National Telephone Company should be clarified as soon as possible. To this end it would be helpful if the Spanish Government were to make a statement of its intention to respect fully the rights of the National Telephone Company of Spain legally acquired under the terms of its contract with the Spanish State.
You are authorized in your discretion and in such manner as you may deem advisable to bring the position of this Government with respect to the protection of American business interests in Spain to the attention of the Spanish Government, with a view to eliciting assurances along the lines indicated.
There is enclosed for your confidential information a memorandum of a conversation at the Department on May 29, 1939, between the [Page 832] Under Secretary and the Spanish Ambassador6 on the general subject of the relations between the Spanish Government and the National Telephone Company of Spain, in which the position of this Government with respect to the American interests involved is set forth. There is also enclosed for background information a memorandum prepared in the Department summarizing the position of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation in Spain.7 Further information on the subject will be found in the files of the Embassy.
Very truly yours,